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Russia: Government Says Islamic Headscarf Permissable For ID Photo

Moscow, 2 June 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov today ordered that Muslim women be allowed to wear a headscarf in identity photographs following a Supreme Court ruling last month that overturned a previous ban. Russia's RIA-Novosti quoted an unidentified Interior Ministry spokesperson as saying Gryzlov's order had already been registered by the Justice Ministry.

On 15 May, the Russian Supreme Court ruled that Muslim women could follow Islamic tradition and keep their headdress on ID documents.

The ruling followed an appeal by women from the traditionally Muslim Republic of Tatarstan who had complained that the local Interior Ministry had refused to accept their documents citing the fact that they were wearing headscarves.

Russia is home to some 20 million Muslims, out of a total population of more than 145 million.